Dear AITF Members:

Please note that this is the last chance for submissions for the 2022 cohort of the Anchor Fellows Program.
This program emerged from conversations in our Presidential Subgroup about the future pipeline of anchor institution leaders who are committed to AITF’s values – a commitment to place, collaboration, social justice and equity, democracy and democratic practice. The level of engagement of anchor institutions in their communities depends on committed leaders. We know this very well in AITF, as demonstrated in the experiences and perspectives of our members who are in senior leadership positions. What happens when these dedicated leaders retire? Do we know for sure that their successors will share the same principles and push their institutions to prioritize AITF’s values? Our Fellows Program is our contribution to increasing the likelihood that we will have a pool of future leaders who can take on the challenge of fully encouraging anchor institutions around these values and instituted the policies and practices that will help anchor institutions become the best possible partners in their communities. Please spread the word about this program, apply, encourage people to apply, or nominate particular applicants.


AITF’s policy agenda continues to take shape, as we engage in communication at all levels of government about the potential contributions of anchor institutions to community change. We have been taking a network-oriented approach, receiving guidance and connections from AITF members. Thanks so much to those of you who have been helpful in this regard. If any of you have suggestions about particular policymakers or other government officials, who might have an interest in our policy ideas, please let me know. So far, we have received some support from particular Members of Congress and others for our policy suggestions, including a Fund for Anchor Institutions and an Anchor Institutions-Community Work Initiative.
Our last webinar was inspired by this evolving work, and brought together voices from local and national government to comment on how anchor institutions have been engaging locally during the pandemic and future opportunities to align policy priorities with the role of anchor institutions in collaboratively bringing about equitable growth in the years to come.
Anchor Institutions and Public Policy Toward Just and Equitable Communities, was held April 19, 2021. Our two panelists, Tanisha Jumper (City of Tacoma, Wash.) and Kinnard Wright (HUD), joined us to discuss our latest policy brief, Pursuing Just and Equitable Communities, and creative community and economic development strategies during COVID-19. A key point from our discussion was the strength of anchor partnerships’ in meeting the ever-changing needs of communities during COVID-19. Our panelists also offered advice to both anchor institutions and governments on how to establish cross-sector alliances in city settings. 
Thanks so much to Kinnard and Tanisha for sharing their wisdom with us. Thanks also to those of you who were able to participate. Stay tuned for other webinar announcements. Upcoming topics include anchor partnerships coordinating local procurement, and the role of hospitals and health systems in building resilient communities (to be organization by AITF’s Health Professionals’ Subgroup).
Best Regards,


Here are some relevant resources and updates from our field:



Launching Webinar and Articles Related to the Publication of Higher Education’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Building a More Sustainable and Democratic Future

  • IAU Webinar Series: Higher Education’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, held 16 March 2021, the recording is available here, and the closing remarks by Ira Harkavy is here.
  • Article by book editors for University World News that reiterates the call for action launched through the book is available here.
  • Chapters produced by U.S. authors involved in AITF are available here.    

Participate in the Second IAU Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher EducationBringing It #58: Announcing the Way Forward Podcast

The International Association of Universities (IAU) and partners are pleased to invite all Universities and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to take the Second IAU Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education. Aimed at gathering substantial data on the ways global higher education systems are affected by the pandemic from an institutional standpoint, the Survey includes questions about the challenges encountered in four different areas: Governance and financing, teaching and learning, research, and societal/community engagement. The report on the first global survey is available here and is open until July 1.

Carnegie Community Engagement Classification – 2021 ZOOM Meetings

The Carnegie Community Engagement management team is seeking feedback from campuses that were classified or re-classified in 2020 to help shape revisions to the 2024 application. You can participate in two ways:
  1. through a survey,
  2. or attending a public feedback session:
  • Friday, May 14, 1 – 2:30 PM EST, Topic: Carnegie Community Engagement Elective Classification – Public Feedback Session 1, Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 838 2763 6501, Passcode: 705883
  • Friday, June 18, 1 – 2:30 PM EST, Topic: Carnegie Community Engagement Elective Classification – Public Feedback Session 2, Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 850 9961 5198, Passcode: R37czA
Please contact Linda LaNoue ( or John Saltmarsh ( if you have any questions.


$20M Announced to Strengthen Broadband Infrastructure in Some Virginia Areas

March 18, 2021
Governor Ralph Northam has announced $20.1 million in Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grants to improve broadband infrastructure in 17 localities. The funding is designed to support 11 projects, connecting more than 13,400 households, businesses, and anchor institutions to high-speed internet, and leveraging $18.8 million in private and local investments, according to the governor.

These Apartments Offer You Health Care with Your Lease

April 26, 2021
In the summer of 2020, IBM Watson Health and faculty from the Center for Health Equity and the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins University collaborated to create a measure of hospital contributions to community health with a focus on equity. On January 19, 2021, the Johns Hopkins partners sent a final proposal to IBM Watson Health. The proposed measure had four components, health outcome indicators, Hospital as a Healthcare Provider, Hospital as a Partner, and Hospital as an Anchor Institution.

Team players: Cleveland Innovation District Is A Group Effort for Local Healthcare Investment

April 22, 2021
A $565 million initiative, announced in January by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, brings together Northeast Ohio healthcare and educational providers in creation of a brand-new pathogen research center. Officials from five participating institutions—Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals (UH), The MetroHealth System, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), and Cleveland State University (CSU)—believe the district can be a powerful attractor for industry sectors experiencing growth, even in the wake of COVID-19.

Op-Ed – 4 Reasons You Should Learn More about State’s Anchor Institution program

April 16, 2021
Perhaps overlooked in all of the provisions of the Economic Recovery Act of 2020 is the Community Anchor Institution Program. Developers, municipal leaders and institutions such as those in higher education and health care should educate themselves. Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark, identified the worldwide anchor institutions movement as one that seeks to harness enduring organizations, such as “Eds & Meds,” to achieve economic and social objectives.

HBCUs: America’s Pathway to Next Generation Prosperity

April 16, 2021
The National Institute for Inclusive Competitiveness (NIIC) is working with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and public-private partners to amplify the role of HBCUs as anchor institutions responsible for economic planning, R&D, technology transfer and seed capital for the communities where their faculty, staff, students and employees live.

Paying Hospitals to Build Housing—New Jersey Program Expands

April 13, 2021
A New Jersey program that pays hospitals to build affordable housing is still going strong. For the last couple of years, the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) has been encouraging the state’s hospitals to build affordable housing in their respective communities by providing up to $4 million in financial incentives for each project. RWJBarnabas in New Jersey intends to build an affordable housing facility in Newark that includes 65 to 70 affordable rental units for residents earning 60 percent of AMI.

The Rockefeller Foundation Launches $20 Million Initiative to Increase Covid-19 Vaccination Rates among Communities of Color

April 13, 2021
The Rockefeller Foundation announces the launch of a historic $20 million Equity-First Vaccination Initiative to improve the vaccination rate among communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. These anchor organizations will expedite vaccinations in communities of color in the five cities: Open Society Institute-Baltimore (OSI-Baltimore), The Chicago Community Trust, Houston in Action, United Way of Greater Newark (UWGN), and Roots Community Health Center.

Pennsylvania’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries Announces Project to Provide Broadband Internet Access to Underserved Communities

April 8, 2021
The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL) and the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER) today announced the Libraries Connect Communities and Broadband Resources project, an initiative to improve access to broadband services in and beyond libraries across the commonwealth’s underserved and unserved communities.”Libraries are community anchor institutions that play a critical role in providing free access to technology to those who may not have access otherwise,” said Glenn R. Miller, Deputy Secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

Academic Journal Articles:

Working Beyond Health Care to Achieve Health

This issue of NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery features an anchor institution, a novel prenatal care program, a clinical-business partnership, Chief Wellness Officers, predictive solutions, emerging digital technologies, and hospital leadership in a turbulent year.
Reference: Seth, M., & LeeThomas, H. (2021). Working Beyond Health Care to Achieve Health. NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery, Vol. 2 No. 5.

Conceptualizing and Defining Anchor Businesses to Facilitate Investments in Community Health and Well-Being

Although less researched, for-profit institutions also increasingly implemented initiatives to promote a community culture of health, many of which are “anchored” to surrounding communities because of investments, employment, customers, or suppliers. We propose an exploratory definition for anchor businesses to stimulate debate and spur more research in this area.
Reference: Cohen, C. C., Qureshi, N., & Liu, H. H. (2021). Conceptualizing and Defining Anchor Businesses to Facilitate Investments in Community Health and Well-Being. Population Health Management.

The PARC Initiative: A Multi-Anchor Approach to Community Engagement and Development

There is broad recognition that anchor institutions—universities, hospitals, and other locally embedded organizations—can leverage their economic and human resources to revitalize and empower distressed neighborhoods. In Milwaukee, five anchor institutions, including Marquette University, collaborated with residents, city officials, and other stakeholders to transform the seven neighborhoods surrounding their campuses. The Promoting Assets and Reducing Crime (PARC) initiative is an innovative, data-driven, and place-based model of community collaboration to address neighborhood challenges. Over the last 3 years, PARC has helped stimulate economic development, enhance housing stock, improve public safety, and strengthen neighborhood connections in the city’s Near West Side. In this article, we detail how PARC was established, the role of the university in this multianchor partnership, and how the initiative PARC integrates data and community input to inform and evaluate its work. The PARC initiative demonstrates promise as an effective model of university engagement in neighborhood revitalization efforts.
Reference: Kennelly, P., Wichowsky, A., Knapp, L., Gerdes, E. W., Schram, J., Byrne, J., … & Bergen, D. (2021). The PARC Initiative: A Multi-Anchor Approach to Community Engagement and Development. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 25(1).

The Right to the City and to the University: Forging Solidarity Beyond the Town/Gown Divide

Over the last fifty years, institutions of higher education have served as anchor institutions in cities’ broader neoliberal efforts to generate new economic sectors, attract the creative class, and build amenities that stimulate market-oriented redevelopment. These activities, combined with universities’ own neoliberal restructuring, including diminishing housing support for students and staff, have contributed to gentrification and displacement in neighborhoods surrounding universities, creating the context for interrelated struggles for the right to the city and the right to the university. Using Temple University in Philadelphia, and University of California Santa Cruz as case studies we examine how students, faculty, and other university actors are joining with organizations and movements in surrounding communities to resist restructuring and displacement. In doing so, these emerging coalitions are transcending the more divisive town/gown narrative, forging new solidarities that are reimagining more just and equitable futures for both the city and the university.
Reference: Ferman, B., Greenberg, M., Le, T., & McKay, S. C. (2021). The Right to the City and to the University: Forging Solidarity Beyond the Town/Gown Divide. The Assembly, 3(1), 10-34.